New club member Gill Spence, from England, remembers moving house many times in her childhood. “We had homes in Essex, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.” she says, “We moved almost every five years. My parents just seemed to enjoy doing it!”

As an adult, she finally felt truly settled after having lived for 30 years in the pretty Devonshire village of Ottery St. Mary. However, her daughter Hattie had other ideas. Hattie, who lives in Berlin with her German husband Tobi and four-year-old son Charlie, asked Gill if she would consider coming to live nearby so that she and Charlie could develop a close relationship.

“I thought ‘Go on – have an adventure!’” says Gill. So in 2020, having recently celebrated her 70th birthday and started german lessons, she rented out her UK house in the middle of the pandemic restrictions, and came to live in Schmargendorf near the Grunewald in south west Berlin.

“It’s a very pretty green area and being near Charlie and watching him grow up is a delight,” she says. “I’m slowly making friends here and regularly go walking with a neighbour. I’ve also joined the local church where someone told me about the BIWC. The club has an amazing range of activities and it seems to be a really nice group of open-minded women. I’m looking forward to doing some activities, making new friends and learning more about the history of Berlin”

Gill gained a degree in English Literature at Sussex University, where she met her former husband, before taking a post-graduate course in professional Librarianship which became her career job.

Unsurprisingly, she is an avid reader and was sad to leave her book collection in the UK. However, she fully expects the English book shop at Dussman to profit from her loss.

She is also a keen knitter and used the lockdown period to finally knit up pullovers that she had started and never finished for various family members.

Another activity she is looking forward to taking part in here is folk-dancing. She belonged to a club

in Devon, is a trained folk dance ‘caller’, and would like to hear from any BIWC members who would be interested in forming a folk-dance group when Covid regulations allow.

“You don’t have to be a good dancer, you don’t need a partner, it keeps you young, it’s good for the brain, the music is great – and it’s wonderful fun!” she says.


Thanks to Liz, member of the web team, for talking to Gill.